We were live press-row at the Bernabeu today as Real Madrid churned out another disappointing result, this time a draw against 8th place Eibar. Here are a few notes we took..
We’ve made several pleas to Zidane to have BBC play in unison, i.e. closer together, and we saw it today. Though, it didn’t help that Bale was the only member of the BBC who seemed up for a football match today. From an aerial view, Bale and Ronaldo were narrow for the most part, while Benzema stayed central. Isco, at times, was wider than both wingers, and I’m not sure that was the best use of this lineup given that any danger Real Madrid created was when Bale drifted out wide to burn the entire right flank.
To be fair to Ronaldo, he was quite active today, if not the most efficient. He was most dangerous when being decisive with an in-swinging cross - as proven with Real Madrid’s goal - but he wasn’t his usual clinical self.
On a side note, Gareth Bale’s header from the edge of the area was one of the nicest ‘non-goals’ I’ve seen this season.
Let’s be optimistic for a second.
Kovacic has arrived. I mean, he’s always been here, but he’s been largely viewed as a work in progress. In the build-up to this game, he’s had a tremendous run of form, and today, along with Gareth Bale, he was the best player on the pitch. His turns, control in tight-spaces, physicality on the ball, defensive awareness, and distribution were all among the best we’ve seen this season from a Real Madrid player. I was surprised he wasn’t on the original team sheet to start this match in place of the stability we lose without Casemiro and Modric, but I hope this performance makes it clear where he should be in Zidane’s depth chart.
- What doesn’t show up on the stat sheet
The intangibles. There were many. For starters, Zidane’s idea to play a complete 90 minutes has just been a fairy tale, so far. When Fran Rico scored within six minutes, Real Madrid had conceded a very preventable goal. Danilo was slow to pick up the crosser, and neither Pepe or Varane picked up Fran Rico’s run. No excuses. There was time, and Real Madrid had numbers. The focus wasn’t there, particularly right when it needed to be. If we want to be harsh, Navas should have dealt better with the goal too, but he was left for dead.
- A quick note on Isco. The Bernabeu was on his back today, and for good reason
When Isco doesn't play for months, you miss him. But when he plays, you remember that he puts his head down and dribbles into 5 players.— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) October 2, 2016